Much like the entire Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Division of The Salvation Army, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Command’s, Major Gary Sturdivant watched and prayed as Hurricane Nate made landfall right in the middle of his service area.
His prayers were answered as Nate brought wind, rain, and storm surges up and down the Gulf Coast, but minimal damage. “I got out early this morning riding around to see if there was a need for The Salvation Army to help,” Sturdivant said. “I just wanted to let people know we are here if they need us.”
Of course, Sturdivant didn’t then realize it would be one of his own employees to whom he’d minister. Brenda Parrott is the custodian at Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Biloxi. While Parrott and her husband left their home for a safer location, a tree fell on their electrical meter box causing a fire.
“We were able to pray together with the family…I said, ‘We may not have answers right now but we know our good Lord does,’” Sturdivant said.
As it turned out Parrott and her family had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. She remembers crawling in the attic then into trees to escape the rising waters. Parrott told Sturdivant, “The Lord provided for us like a life jacket that day.”
The Parrotts’ home, built by her brother-in-law after Katrina, is not a complete loss.
“Ms. Brenda is a wonderful employee. In fact, if you ask her how she’s doing at work, she always responds the same way, ‘I am blessed and highly favored,’” Sturdivant said.
But even with Nate rapidly leaving the division and becoming less and less a threat, others, like Parrott, still need help.
“Emotional and Spiritual Care is one of the best things our Salvation Army is able to give during times of disaster,” Sturdivant said.